Anyone who enjoyed the show "Monk" might well remember that Randy Disher got offered the role of Summit, New Jersey, chief of police in the final episode. Later, in a novel following the character, Randy brings in the main character, Monk, due to a corruption scandal ripping through the hierarchy of Summit.
Summit has a fairly interesting history and was known as "Beacon Hill" during the American Revolution due to all of the bonfire beacons that were lit by the local militia to signal the approach of British troops. It's certainly a popular spot among some of the financial elite of New Jersey and New York, with nice real estate, large family homes and a large commuter community making the 30-minute trip to Manhattan every day of the week. In fact, about 20% of those living in Summit work in finance and real estate in the Big Apple, giving the local area a fairly ritzy feel.
Moving to Summit
The city hosts more than 20,000 people with nearly 8,000 homes all tucked neatly into the city's 6-square-mile area. Detached family homes are the norm here, but about 30% of the properties can still be found in small apartment buildings and high-rises. So, there's pretty much something for everyone, as long as you can afford it. Get searching soon, however, because the market is competitive, and there are plenty of families, couples and singles alike vying for the enviable real estate just 30 kilometers from Manhattan Island.
Make sure you bring your references, pay stubs, rental background and work history with you for apartment viewing. Because the properties go fast, bring your checkbook as well so you are prepared to put down a deposit when you fall in love with your next house or apartment.
There are four major neighborhoods in Summit, each with plenty of housing for rent, and loosely divided in north, south, east and western regions.
Morris Tpke / Hobart Ave: This area contains some hefty real estate prices, higher than just about any other neighborhood in New Jersey. Consequently, the area is full of wealthy commuters, with a great Country Club -- Canoe Brook -- in the northeast and easily walkable from just about anywhere. A golf course is attached, which is great if you like the sport.
City Center: The vacancy rate is actually slightly higher here than the other neighborhoods, so if you're planning on looking for home rentals in Summit, then City Center is a good option. Generally, you'll find plenty of medium and small family homes, as well as single- and double-roomed apartments, all with great access to Manhattan. You've also got the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey in the southwest if that's your thing.
Tremont Park / Woodland Park: Being slightly more leafy, but with all of the ease of access to the Big Apple, Tremont Park / Woodland Park is the most expensive neighborhood in Summit, and one of the most expensive in New Jersey. Both house prices and rental prices are high, so make sure you're earning a fair salary before you consider moving here.
Springfield Ave / Morris Ave: This neighborhood is in the west, close enough for a quick drive to Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge and other national parks beyond it. The theme continues here with plenty of townhouses and family homes along the tree-lined streets. With a low vacancy rate, be prepared to fight for any property that tickles your fancy, with a limited amount of housing for rent in the area.
Living in Summit
As you might expect -- and you may have already guessed from the name -- Summit is quite a bit above sea level, sitting on top of the Second Watchung Mountain, making it fresh, clear and beautifully green year round.
Summit is a great place from which to commute to Manhattan and its surrounding boroughs. There are easy transport links straight to the big city, both via road and rail, and plenty of rental houses and rental apartments are available.